HMH welcomes largest class (161) at its School of Medicine

The newest class members at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine launched their medical careers Thursday with a white coat ceremony at the school.

The 161 students that make up the latest class at the school participated in the symbolic moment that marks the start of the journey to a medical degree.

The class, the school’s fourth, has many distinctions:

  • It was selected from more than 6,000 applicants;
  • It includes one nurse, one pharmacist and four students with advanced degrees;
  • It includes 30 people from groups categorized as underrepresented in medicine;
  • It includes students from 20 states;
  • It includes speakers of 36 languages.

The class is everything HMH CEO Bob Garrett said he was hoping for.

“Hackensack Meridian Health’s mission to transform health care starts at the School of Medicine, as we transform medical education,” he said. “The school was our vision to help lead progressive and transformative change in New Jersey health care.

“It has surpassed expectations in every way.”

Founding Dean Bonita Stanton agreed.

“We are fulfilling our vision with each new group of promising students by introducing them to the complexities of the medical world, which must include the social and economic determinants of health in addition to those components traditionally regarded as constituting the field of medicine,” she said.

“As each new class matriculates, we are positively impacting the way in which medicine is taught.”

The school admitted its first class in 2018 with 60 students. Each year has brought an increasing number of students, leading to this fourth year of admissions.

Students have the opportunity for a three-year path to residency, or an optional fourth year which offers combined master’s degree or graduate certificate programs, intense clinical immersion or focused research. Defining features of the curriculum include the Human Dimension, a longitudinal course that pairs students with people out in the community to foster real-world clinical skills outside a hospital or doctor’s office.

Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp, vice dean of the medical school and a professor of pediatrics, said the school’s curriculum sets it apart.

“The school features the traditional aspects of medical education, but also the unique aspects of what we think should be in a 21st century medical education,” he said. “This is the way we train the best doctors for the future.”